Beef Drop Flank or Braised Beef Brisket with Chou Hou Sauce

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Beef drop flank is cut of meat you’ll often find in Asian grocery stores. Although it most often looks like sushi made of beef, it can also come in different packages like in the image below.

Beef drop flank

Graphic by fivestarslist.com

What Exactly Is Beef Drop Flank?

Even if you know nothing about beef cuts, as soon as you see it, you’ll know it’s definitely not the beef flank steak. On the other side, Americans sort it under the name of brisket, which it certainly isn’t, either. So what is it?

If you take a look at the illustration from above, you’ll notice the Flank section. It is cut placed inside the flank section, but the beef drop flank is not flank steak, but the meat containing connective tissues and fat that surrounds flank steak.

Braising Beef Drop Flank

If you simply put the beef drop flank in the pan, sear it as you usually would do with the classic beef steak, you’ll hardly get a decent meal. What this beef cut needs is a lot of braising.

Braising is a delicate cooking method – something between searing and slow-cooking.

When it comes to beef drop flank, you’ll want to start with searing meat in the pan until it gets nice brown color. Next, you’ll want to put it in a slow-cooker or a Dutch oven while slowly pouring the liquid. This way, connective tissues from the meat will soften up and become tender, releasing all the hidden juices, along with a nice caramelized texture. The final result is gelatin released from connective tissues, making a great base for a rich and melting sauce.

Basically, braising beef drop flank, you’re turning the cheapest beef cuts into melt-in-your-mouth beef.

When I mentioned ‘braising,’ I had in mind two to three hours of slow-cooking. This is exactly how much beef drop flank needs to simmer if you want to taste authentic traditional Chinese beef. If you’re short of time, maybe you’ll want to think about purchasing an instant pot since it significantly reduces required cooking time providing great results at the same time.

Braising Beef Drop Flank

Beef drop flank is a great choice for one-pot-wonder meals. The most popular way of cooking beef drop flank is braising it with radish and Chu Hou sauce. It’s one of the Cantonese comfort foods, which means it originates from one part of China with a pretty warm climate all around the year, even though the dish suits best for cold winter days.

You can find it under the different names on the internet, such as Chu Hu Beef Brisket, Cantonese Beef Brisket with Radish, Chu Hu Braised Beef Belly, etc…

What is Chu Hou (Chou Hou) Sauce?

Chu Hou Sauce (柱候酱, Zhu Hou Jiang), or Chee Hou Sauce

Chu Hou Sauce is made for braising or stir-frying meat and vegetables, although you can also use it to marinate BBQ meat. If you’re curious how it tastes, the taste is almost similar to much more popular Hoisin sauce, but it’s less spicy. The taste varies between sweet and savory. Same as with Hoisin sauce, the base of Chu Hou is made of fermented soybean sauce, but Chu Hou Sauce differs from Hoisin sauce due to the different seasoning. It includes salted plums, garlic, lemon, ginger, and sesame seeds. Also, the taste slightly varies from brand to brand, and I prefer Lee Kum Kee Sauce. Another very popular brand is Koon Chun Sauce. It would be best to try both of them and purchase the one you prefer more.

Braised Beef Drop Flank with Chu Hou Sauce Recipe

As we wrote previously, there are a few variations of this Cantonese recipe, but basically, all that changes is the spice mixture. Everything else remains the same. In the same way, you can omit some spices we’ve included in the recipe and use the others instead – that’s up to you.

Beef drop flank, white radish, and Chu Hou sauce are irreplaceable when it comes to this tasty dish.

Ingredients:

  • Beef drop flank
  • 1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
  • Sesame Oil
  • 1 Radish
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • Ginger
  • Black cardamom
  • Star anise
  • Bay leaves
  • Dried chili peppers
  • White peppercorns
  • Sesame seeds
  • Few chopped scallions

Ingredients for Chu Hou Sauce

Steps:

  1. Blanch beef drop flank in a lot of water for about 30 minutes. Actually, pour enough water in the pot to completely cover the beef drop flank, and add 1 tablespoon of Chinese cooking wine.
  2. While the beef drop flank is braising, peel the radish and cut it into pieces. Next, prepare 5 (or per your wish) cloves of garlic, black cardamom, star anise, bay leaves, dried chili peppers, and chopped scallion.
  3. Make the mixture for Chu Hou sauce. In other words, take one cup and pour Chu Hou paste into it; add dark and light soy sauce, oyster sauce, and Chinese cooking wine, and mix it until the mixture gets a compact texture.
  4. Warm-up Sesame oil in the pot. Next, add mixed spices, and braised beef drop flank cut into pieces.
  5. Next, pour Chu Hou sauce into the pot.
  6. Stir the beef with spices and sauce, and slowly pour in boiled water.
  7. Let it simmer with low heat for at least 60 minutes.
  8. Next, add the radish cut into pieces and let it all together simmer for 30 minutes more.
  9. Add salt and pepper per taste, and sprinkle with scallion.

That should be it. Serve it warm, or even better, hot!

Beef Drop Flank

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Last update on 2021-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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